RIO DE JANEIRO: FIFA is feeling reassured that all Brazil’s World Cup stadia will hit its new delivery deadlines, including the once-uncertain Arena da Amazonia in Manaus writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke handed a vote of confidence to the host nation for this year’s Confederations Cup and next year’s World Cup after the latest board meeting of the World Cup Organising Committee in Rio de Janeiro.
FIFA had twice pushed back the handover deadline for four of the six stadia but the new deadline of April 15 will not be extended.
Valcke said: “We are certain that all the stadiums will be ready for the Confederations Cup and the World Cup. We even received an update from our technical team in Manaus confirming that significant progress has been made and they are talking about handing it over in around December this year.
“Manaus is moving back in line with the initial deadline we requested for the stadiums. The work being carried out now is more to do with the surroundings of the stadiums.”
Last December Valcke had warned that Manaus would be dropped from the World Cup schedule if work were not expedited.
One issue still being discussed concerns the temporary structures essential for media and hospitality demands in and around all the stadia.
Valcke said: “We’re moving further and further into the implementation and handover phase and we’re at the stage where we’re overcoming a few challenges. One of them concerns temporary infrastructures, a topic we have discussed at all the venues.
“Temporary infrastructures are crucial to the FIFA World Cup. A FIFA World Cup match is totally different to any other football match. The reason for that is the amount of people involved, the number of journalists and the number of dignitaries.
“The level of organisation for a FIFA World Cup match cannot be compared to that required for games in any other competition, not even qualifying matches.”
Valcke underlined his comments to the media in his monthly ‘letter from Brazil.’
He described the newly-unveiled World Cup poster as “a beautiful abstract art piece” and welcomed the initial test matches in the new Fortaleza stadium because “it is so important that the facilities stage events before the Festival of Champions because only in event mode you can identify challenges and fix them. Fortaleza did a great job and has set an example for all other cities.”
Valcke, underlining his new-found confidence about the pace of preparations, added: “My confidence in Brazil is based on the firm reassurance by the governors and mayors to fulfil their commitments that construction at all six FIFA Confederations Cup stadiums will be completed by mid-April to allow at least two proper football test events before the official event period.
“All of them have fixed the dates for inaugurations and first test matches. The dates are set and must not be moved as the set-up of the temporary installations such as IT and broadcast solution must immediately commence to ensure images will be able to be transmitted worldwide and fans will have a great experience.
“I believe we are moving together at the right pace made possible by our fruitful partnership with government and the host cities. I am convinced that through this collective team work we can ensure that this Brazilian edition of the FIFA World Cup will rise up to the expectations of the football world. After all, the FIFA World Cup is finally coming back to the país do futebol.”
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